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Court of Appeals ruling may let Reyes brothers walk

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The Court of Appeals (CA) has invalidated the panel that Justice Secretary Leila de Lima had formed to reinvestigate the January 2011 murder in Palawan of environmentalist and radio commentator Dr. Gerry Ortega, raising the possibility the murder charges and arrest warrants against former Palawan Gov. Joel Reyes and his brother may eventually be quashed.

The CA’s special Fifth Decision said De Lima had committed grave abuse of discretion when she formed a second panel to look into the Ortega murder case instead of carrying out her duty to review the resolution of the first panel she had created and which had ruled that there was no probable cause to indict Reyes and his brother, former Coron Mayor Mario Reyes, for Ortega’s murder.

“It behooves the Secretary of Justice to adhere to the rules of procedure the Department of Justice promulgated for an orderly and effective administration of justice, otherwise the vast power of the Secretary of Justice would be susceptible of abuse. Scary!!” read the decision penned by Associate Justice Leoncia Real-Dimagiba.

De Lima on Tuesday said she had not yet read the decision but would ask the Solicitor General to prepare a motion for reconsideration.

De Lima initially formed a panel of prosecutors to investigate the Ortega killing in early 2011 through Department Order No. 091. The panel found probable cause against four persons and dismissed the complaints against six others, including the Reyes brothers.

Claiming to have new evidence, Ortega’s wife sought to have the investigation reopened, filing several petitions with the first panel.

On Sept. 7, 2011, De Lima issued a new department order creating a new prosecution panel to reinvestigate the Ortega case.

Finding of probable cause

The new panel found probable cause to indict the Reyes brothers, which resulted in the issuance of arrest warrants against them in March by the Puerto Princesa Regional Trial Court.

Mario Reyes then went to the appellate court to question De Lima’s creation of a second investigative panel.

In its decision, the appellate CA said De Lima was well within her powers to “review, modify, alter or nullify” the decision of the first investigative panel without conducting another investigation.

It noted that De Lima had to this day not acted on the motion for review ad cautelam (as a precaution) that Ortega’s wife had filed and which “was ripe for resolution.”

In creating a second panel to investigate the case, the appellate court said De Lima “blatantly disregarded” Rule 112 of the Rules of Court and the 2000 National Prosecution Service Rule on Appeal “which are the DOJ’s bibles in the conduct of preliminary investigations.”

The court also held that the second panel which came up with findings that modified the resolution of the first panel “exceeded its authority” because this power was vested only in the justice secretary. The court therefore declared the second panel “null and void.”

Ferdinand Topacio, the lawyer of the Reyes brothers, noted that the ruling on his client was similar to the appellate court ruling that overturned the decision of a lower court finding Sen. Panfilo Lacson liable for the Dacer-Corbito double murder, thus quashing the arrest warrant against Lacson.

The legal implication of the appellate court ruling was that the arrest warrants against the Reyes brothers should be dissolved since the constitution of the panel that reinvestigated the case had been held invalid and, thus, all its actions should be invalidated as well, he said.

He said the Reyeses’ lawyers were studying whether to ask the Palawan court to quash the arrest warrants against their clients.


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Tags: Court of Appeals , Dr. Gerry Ortega , environmentalist , Joel Reyes , Leila de Lima , Murder


  • EdgarEdgar

    Sloppy. That’s how the Court of Appeals would have characterized in one word Leila de Lima’s work on the case. But then again, Leila de Lima is not entirely to blame. She is after all operating only with hooves and snout which makes her clumsy. There are no corrective shoes or surgery to correct her clumsiness. Like all clumsy hooves and snout, Leila de Lima is bound to screw things up sooner or later. This is to be expected. For hastily jumping into conclusions and hastily putting together a sloppy piece of work, Leila de Lima succeeded in denying justice to the victim’s family yet again. Another day, another foul-up from the foul-smelling hooves and snout of Leila de Lima.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_GG4T5UNZ3P7SCHSRNJ7PF5JZMM Jimmy

      I don’t know what kind of animal you are, but certainly you are a foul smelling mouth of a pig…!!!!  Ang baho ng bunganga mo…!!!!!!

      • EdgarEdgar

        What kind of animal? Let me see . . . . mammal, primate family, human being.

        Why the hatred?

    • http://www.dafk.net/what/ Kilabot ng mga Balahibo

       “She is after all operating only with hooves and snout which makes her clumsy”

      diba naka lagay sa Article sa taas…”it Behooves her,” so….snout na lang?

      lol.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_WYX4ZTAV4BUGW2RIMT45CPYBGA Pio Gante

      langya ka, ang lupit mo hehe…

      • EdgarEdgar

        She had it coming. hehe…

  • Luthmar

    Where is Human Rights?  What does it have to say about these technicalities in order to save
    those Reyes brothers.  If they are innocent why are they in hiding?  What about justice for
    Dr. Ortega?  C’mon Human Rights say something.  Do not always come to the rescue of the accused.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/55XNXOYBNF6BG3EWOM5V4YMWXM Pedro

    TECHNICALITIES  NA  NAMAN  LABAN  SA  KATOTOHANAN  AT  HUSTISYA !  GRABE NA  ITO !! NANGANGAMOY AT KITANG KITA  ANG  CORRUPTION DITO !!  MILYONG PISO ITO !!

  • Hey_Dudes

    It is bad enough that the Filipino people has continued to remain divided, vociferous, undisciplined and violent.  Coupled with congress unable to form cohesion and ethics, it does not help any for the country’s courts getting into ‘not in my territory’ ego trips further compounding an already fragile society.

    The courts should decide in solidarity and unison if criminal rights are more protected over those who obeys the law of the land.  If these Reyeses were truly innocent, why did they flee the country to the point of circumventing the state travel requirements?

    Some people might regard the coming Christmas being the reason for this criminals suddenly being cleared by these judges.  Maybe some mistresses need brand new cars or condos for their love nest.  This is sickening for what these courts are doing.

  • 711sense

    It is not a surprise why De Lima is making so many mistakes. She is an election lawyer and not a criminal lawyer. I bet she won’t even pass the basic in criminal law questions. She needs to go back to school and get a refresher training on criminal law and other law for that matter. She is pretty good with opening her mouth though. 

    • http://www.dafk.net/what/ Kilabot ng mga Balahibo

       Perhaps you’re right.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_44QGTQXFYHNVPNMX453LWBPMXM Opel

    money talks, rich people walk. 

  • nice_boy

     “It behooves the Secretary of Justice to adhere to the rules of
    procedure the Department of Justice promulgated for an orderly and
    effective administration of justice, otherwise the vast power of the
    Secretary of Justice would be susceptible of abuse. Scary!!”

    Scary lady indeed.  Another scary lady is the Ombudsman.  She created another investigating panel when the outcome of the first did not meet her whim.

    • http://www.dafk.net/what/ Kilabot ng mga Balahibo

      Hindi kasi marunong sumunod sa set of her own department’s procedures, or sa law ang babaeng nakasandal sa presidente.

      Ang taong di marunong sumunod sa law HAS NO BUSINESS IMPLEMENTING IT.

  • batangsulpok

    Basta malakas at malaking tao ang sangkot, walang nangyayari tulad ng kaso ni Lacson, open arms pang sinalubong ni Pnoy nang sumulpot mula sa pagtatago.

  • hustlergalore

    gloria. gloria. labandera.
    gloria. gloria. labandera.
    gloria. gloria. labandera.
    labandera si gloria

    lumusong siya sa tubig
    ang hita ay nabasa.
    lumusong siya sa tubig.
    ang hita ay nabasa,
    lumusong siya sa tubig.ang hita ay nabasa,
    ngunit ang kanyang tut tut.
    ay hindi pa rin nababasa.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/OLBO2VGEMM3FTASB4YOIWYMK5I Margaret Dela vega

    kung tatanungin natin ang mga taga-Puerto Princesa magugulat kayo na sasabihin nilang hindi talaga ang mga Reyes ang gumawa, dahil iyon talaga ang totoo. Media lang ang nagpalaki para mapaniwala ang buong mundo na guilty ang mga Reyes. Hinihintay ng mga taga-Palawan ang dismissal na ito dahil alam nilang walang kinalaman sila Joel Reyes sa krimen. Kaya masaya ngayon ang mga taga-Palawan kahit magtanong kayo doon.

  • edleon

    Let’s face it… hindi pa nauubos ang mga  basura na iniwan ni GLORIA… kailanga pa mag linis!

    • http://www.dafk.net/what/ Kilabot ng mga Balahibo

      No, i think nahulog ang bola nung gumawa ng extra ordinary procedures ang DOJ sec. 

      Kung nasa tamang procedure ang ginawa nya, it would still end up that the Reyes brothers be found liable for the murder.

      Its a problem stemming from another problem. Just because you do not follow your own rules.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_NPV7TOHIJPG3UMTLQDTHLQJR7Y Jack

        the doj sec was correcting a mistake with another mistake

      • http://www.dafk.net/what/ Kilabot ng mga Balahibo

        true.

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/D74N4RT4CD6XLTF77TASSG6NII Ada Tomas

        kaya Nganga!

    • speaksoftlylove

      Basura your behind. I must admit that there are “bayaran” in the CA worse, than in the SC. Yet two of the members of the three-member 5th Division are women and more often than not women justices are less susceptible to corruption. Besides, this is a celebrated case and all those CA 5th Division members are aware of the criticisms that they will received by virtue of their unwelcomed decision. However, they stood their ground. It’s not a question of whether or not the Reyeses are guilty. It’s a question of strictly following DOJ’s own rules which for all your ignorance is definitely not technicality. If the CA will allow such defective information, the Reyeses would be acquitted because of “technicalities” and that’s the time when you will cry to high heavens. In short, the CA nipped in the bud the chance of the Reyeses being acquitted in the future. All is not lost yet. The complainants can move for reinvestigation on account of newly discovered evidence if there are such things.

  • bakitkailangan

    Meron ba talagang hustisya? Sundan natin ang susunod na banatan, starring Secretary Leila de Lima against “the Killers and Hoodlums of the Phillippine Republic”.

    Ang hustisya nga ba ay nabibili? Tapos na po ito sa panahon ni “Wonder Woman” De Lima at Kapitan P’Noy.

    Oras na para mamundok ang mga hidhid na politikong hoodlums dahil isaisa na kayong malilipol ng ating Marvel Heroes.

  • sacrebleau

     Technicalities are good for business if you are a gun for hire. Someone always gets frustrated enough to take the law into their own hands. For some, that is the real justice system.

  • tanga_hanga_ni_abnoy

    de5, mag mcle ka muna, at kayong taga CA, maximum continuing legal education kailangan nyo..minimize muna corruption

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/D74N4RT4CD6XLTF77TASSG6NII Ada Tomas

      ang tagal kong inisip kung ano ang “de5″ hahahaha

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/OLBO2VGEMM3FTASB4YOIWYMK5I Margaret Dela vega

    Tama ang desisyon ng Court of Appeals

  • kilabot

    confused etong si delima parang lgbt. di alam anong procedure susundin. ayan tuloy, mukang makakawala tuluyan ang fugitives. a repeat of pinky lacson?

  • w4d

    LOL…what a joke…Just a formality by the CA…we all know that the Reyes brothers are roaming “free.”

  • $20733759

    If it is just procedural rule promulgated by the secretary of justice, then it is not a law, and for that reason, it is discretionary upon the promulgating authority to modify, even set-aside, the rules and adopt a new one. Hence, there can be no grave abuse of discretion which needlessly ” scared” the justice who penned the decision. What do you say Atty.Agaton?? Are there no similar jurisprudence on this point?

    • Felix Alcantara

      Very wrong! Procedural rules could not just be easily changed midway even by the Justice Secretary because after some modifications or alterations, these new set of guidelines could not immediately become part of the Rules without publication. Moreover, as a general rule, the new guidelines should have no retroactive effect.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/OLBO2VGEMM3FTASB4YOIWYMK5I Margaret Dela vega

    Kahit sinong tanungin nyo sa Palawan all believe Reyeses are innocent, yung mga binayaran lang ng mga pulitiko doon ang nagsasabi otherwise dahil sa pera. Pinakalat sa Maynila ang kasinungalingan kaya marami ang naniniwala. dapat lang talagang ma-dismiss ang kaso laban sa mga Reyes. CA did just what is right.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/JWRQ2XRQNZ75OA2AGDSFO5NZO4 Aaron Cruz

    YES TAMA PO, SINAKYAN LANG KASI NG MGA POLITIKO DOON KASI TAKOT SILA SA MGA REYES DAHIL ILALAMPASO NA NAMAN SILA SA ELEKSYON. SINANGKOT NILA ANG MGA REYES PARA HINDI MAKALABAN SA KANILA SA 2013. YAN ANG TOTOO.

  • http://www.ninoyandcory.gov.ph/ It’s No Time To Doubt Now

    This is what I love about our beloved President PNoy. He is always ahead of everybody else, ahead of his time and wise beyond his years. He is sometimes accused of getting ahead of himself but that is just fine. Before anyone could put a finger on what’s wrong with our judiciary, our dear leader PNoy has accurately pinpointed the root of the problem in the Supreme Court. With precision and deft never seen before in Philippine history, our dear leader PNoy surgically removed the malignancy now known as Corona before he even had a chance to completely metastasize all throughout the Philippine judicial body. Admittedly, there’s still a lot of work to be done. The Court of Appeals is a case in point. It betrayed the spirit of the law and insisted on the letter of the law thus allowing the culprits to buy more time and possibly get off the hook altogether one of these days. By not turning a blind eye to and allowing greater latitude for DOJ to cut corners, the Court of Appeals has delayed and therefore denied the victims justice. Thanks to our beloved President PNoy for upholding the rule of law and not allowing lynch mob take matters into their own hands.

    Sa Daang Matuwid, wala kang talo. Halina’t go with the flow. Go with Daang Matuwid.

    and may I humbly suggest:
    vote straight LP in 2013
    Ninoy 2.0 = Bam Aquino

    To our national superhero Ninoy, Blessed Mother Cory and their only begotten son PNoy, you have the absolute love and support of the Filipino people.

    • ThePattern

      daang matuwid patungong bangin.

    • TagaKalos

      Anong sinasabi mo na Blessed Mother Cory, bakit ginawa na ba siyang santa ng mga katoliko? Ikaw na HUNGHANG ka pareho kayo noong isang nagbablog dito na si yesyesyo na sobrang pagkapanatiko sa presidente sa malakanyang na inutil at bakla na para bang nakahalik kayong parati sa kanyang PUWET.  Hoy OGAG, magingat ka baka balang araw ay makita kayo na mga panatiko na may bigti sa leeg gamit yung yellow ribbon na naging lubid ng inyong idolo! 

    • VindictivePanot

      eto na naman tong si bayaran.. wala bang ibang trabahong tumanggap sau?

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/L6TTZGNCMP4XWQQCNIX65PTNJM Ciano

      ano na naman tong post mo?anong blessed Mother Cory?kailan pa nangyari yan? daang may tuwid na daan ka pang nalalaman.hoy! di uto-uto ang mga tao dito! wag i boto ang mga political dynasty!!!

    • Palku Kha

      hoy! itong post mo pangloloko ito! magagalit sa yo ang Santo Papa kailan pa naging blessed si Cory?puro ka dear leader.mukha mo! hindi magpapaloko sa yo ang taong bayan! wag i boto ang mga political dynasty!!!

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/DLDZYEH5HRC7BRQSZEDPPYCVQY Abarrane Bautista

    lumampas sa Pluto ang discretion ni De5… tama lang na ibasura… justice is served to those innocent brothers… uwi na kayo

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/YFQXAGHWGPXNTIUE4YPIK6BVXM Aceline Torres

    thanks to this decision. MABUHAY SI PNOY! MABUHAY ANG COURT OF APPEALS! wag tayo padadala sa propaganda para lang makapakulong ng mga inosenteng tao, hindi ganun ang pangarap nating hustisya, batas dapat ang mangingibabaw, hindi ang kagustuhan ng iilan na sinasakyan lang ng media

    • VindictivePanot

      i hope you’re being sarcastic

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QZZKXPEA67I7HELEIYM35QVYFA Jon

    Palpak nanaman si Daldalima.
    Buti na lang at di naging CJ.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/W5QA7OZKQ4B4XBHST22ZIZZPBY Adelbert Andrada

    Good job CA justices… you put the rule of law intact.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/PY5MCFSPVVTFHVVKFGWWWVEJIY Mary joy Mercado

    b4 we talk lets connect our mouth to our brain…. kung ayaw mong matalo sa korte huwag kang maghain ng reklamo, ganun lang yon… kung matalo ka aangal-angal ka, anong gusto mo ikaw lang ang laging panalo? mabuhay ang Court of Appeals, tama yang ginawa nyo…. mabuhay din si President Aquino…. umiiral talaga ang batas, walang mataas sa batas, kung gusto nyong mas mataas pa kayo sa batas hindi nyo na kailangan ang batas kaya wag na kayo pupunta sa Korte kasi pag matalo kayo sisisihin nyo na naman ang justice system natin, eh kung inosente talaga ang nirereklamo nyo eh bakit kayo kakampihan ng Court na ipakulong ang inosente, siyempre hindi!

  • Albert Einstien

    BAKIT kaya pa si ” It’s No Time To Doubt Now, doubt is the enemy of faith ” …pare-parehas lang naman SINUSULAT NYA…pinagbibigyan..porke ba aquino..kaya ok lang..NO TO POLITICAL DYNASTY…! sundan nyo mga comment nya puro bam aquino makikita nyo…lol

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/D74N4RT4CD6XLTF77TASSG6NII Ada Tomas

    in Puerto Princesa City everybody knows Joel Reyes and brother Mario are innocent. Dismissal of case is just proper. That’s it.

    • Ping Gonzales

      Kung tama ang nasa isip mo ba’t nagtatago ang dalawang ito sana sumuko sila at harapin ang kaso simply lang

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/D74N4RT4CD6XLTF77TASSG6NII Ada Tomas

        kung ikaw sa sitwasyon nila papayag ka?

  • Albert Einstien

    NO TO POLITICAL DYNASTY…!BAKIT kaya pa si ” It’s No Time To Doubt Now, doubt is the enemy of faith ” …pare-parehas lang naman SINUSULAT NYA…pinagbibigyan..porke ba aquino..kaya ok lang..NO TO POLITICAL DYNASTY…! sundan nyo mga comment nya puro bam aquino makikita nyo…lol

    • VindictivePanot

      oo nga, nakakadiri na nga pinagsasabi nang zombie na yan..

  • blainz

    There are a lot of new accounts on this thread, and all of them are saying the same thing.

    hmmm……

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/D74N4RT4CD6XLTF77TASSG6NII Ada Tomas

      parang kayo rin

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_OHOD5EA75DBBUH53UKLRXRK764 Mang Teban

    No wonder Ping Lacson got away with murder.
    It is also ‘SCARY’ that by mere technicality where two investigations contradict in their findings, the accused, though presumed innocent until proven guilty, can walk away easily without the investigations’ findings heard in a court trial.I am beginning to doubt the wisdom of Rule 112 used as a basis by the Court of Appeals to junk the second panel’s work altogether. Of course, the DOJ secretary made a terrible mistake. Should the CA not have looked farther than quoting Rule 112 and see if the oversight is justified over findings from the investigating panel? Anyway, the murder case will end up with injustice…that is bound to happen. 

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/D74N4RT4CD6XLTF77TASSG6NII Ada Tomas

    word of the year: SCARY

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_WYX4ZTAV4BUGW2RIMT45CPYBGA Pio Gante

    hindi kaalyado ang mga reyes, malamang na i-disregard ni delilah ang ca decision kaya malabong mag ala-lacson ang magkapatid at bigla na lang silang sumulpot.

    whether the brothers are guilty or not, and with this resolution, those who seek justice for the death of ortega are still way, way behind in getting it.

  • saintleonardo

    Follow the money trail $$$$$$$. Ang kakapal ng mukha ng mga taga CA. How many millions kaya ang pinapagpartihan.

  • pasaway008ako

    Hindi pa naaresto ang mga Reyes brothers e mayroon ng hokos-pokos na nangyayari. Ano ba iyan, nasuhulan na naman si Judge Dimagiba! ang kuwarta naman sa mga tao, dakma kaagad kapag dumating!!!

  • DannyGane

    dismiss due to technicalities (grave abuse of discretion) at court of appeals with total disregard  at new evidences presented???

  • speaksoftlylove

    The CA decision reads in part thus,

    “It behooves upon the secretary of justice to adhere to the rules of
    procedure the DoJ promulgated for orderly and effective administration
    of justice otherwise the vast power of the secretary of justice would be
    susceptible of abuse. Scary!!

    Notice the word “Scary?” Nakakahiya ka De Lima. Noon ko pa sinasabing number one illegal luminary itong laughdog ni PNoy, di ba?

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/KNWCMVMPABEZBCMA36S7FJAKQM orchid

    A life was taken away because of abuse of power ! What kind of justice is this ? The suspected murderers would never be tried in court due to technicalities ? Well, might as well scrap the justice system as it only works for the well heeled and influential people or families.   It is very obvious that there are people from the justice system are on the take for invalidating the second investigative panel created to solve the murder case. How do you solve a murder case in the Philippines then ?

  • speaksoftlylove

    I am not saying that the Reyes brothers are off the hook. For all we know, they might be guilty as hell. Yet, Rules of the DOJ itself are strictly to be followed in finding “probable cause” hence, they are not mere technicalities as some clueless bloggers here wanted to emphasize. Just like cases filed against GMA and the rest of PNoy’s perceived enemies, they are mostly filed haphazardly, half cooked, and with the end in view for PNoy’s vengeance. They cannot stand the test of legality and constitutionality and that’s the bottom line.

  • speaksoftlylove

    I must admit that there are “bayaran” in the CA worse, than in the SC.
    Yet two of the members of the three-member 5th Division are women and
    more often than not women justices are less susceptible to corruption.
    Besides, this is a celebrated case and all those CA 5th Division members
    are aware of the criticisms that they will received by virtue of their
    unpopular decision. However, they stood their ground. It’s not a
    question of whether or not the Reyeses are guilty. It’s a question of
    strictly following DOJ’s own rules which for all your ignorance is
    definitely not technicality. If the CA will allow such defective
    information, the Reyeses would be acquitted because of “technicalities”
    and that’s the time when you will cry to high heavens. In short, the CA
    nipped in the bud the chance of the Reyeses being acquitted in the
    future. All is not lost yet. The complainants can move for
    reinvestigation on account of newly discovered evidence if there are
    such things.

  • phantomofhope

    si de lima sisihin…puro dakdak lang pala…di naman sumusunod sa Rules.

  • linsanity17

    What abnoy, de lima want,, they usually get….even at the expense of twisting the very laws they swore to protect….sore losers…lakasan nyo kse ang kaso, wag daanin s bilisan, kya puro talo ang kaso eh…

  • Simon Ward

    These are not laws of physics or of math that are being debated here. This is the Law of the Land, which somehow its creators claim is simultaneously both cast in stone, and infinitely open to interpretation. When lawyers are the judge, the jury, the prosecution and the defense, is it any wonder nothing gets done? Would YOU trust a lawyer to change your lightbulb … in your lifetime?

  • 7_mgawalanghiyakayo

    Subrang kagagohan to!!!!!! because of technicalities we sacrifies the justice? might free the suspects? Technical incident is the the result of being incompetent, so why not demoting Delima than to sacrifies the justice if there are congcrete evidence. The case is about criminal liabilities which is punishable by law. But if that is the rule of law to give more credit on technicalities than to liabilities, well, a possible of technical solving the criminal cases by a civilian who cannot afford to pay an competent abogago to ensure the case will not result to technical. Mura lang ang baril ngayon 15T magandang 45 na yan….. 

  • tata_boy

    Nasaan ang mga Reyeses, dapat ilabas ng abogago ang mga ito.



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